‘Resting’, AIDS-affliction and marital constraints: Engendered livelihood issues in the aftermath of Lesotho mineworker retrenchments
Since the late 1990s retrenched Basotho mineworkers have been returning in steady numbers to the rural areas of Lesotho. While marital and household relations have been rekindled in the process, there is currently much curiosity about how the large-scale presence of men in rural areas is reconfiguring married women's livelihood strategies and their striving for financial autonomy. The Legal Capacity of Married Persons Act of 2006 has been celebrated as a victory for married women, but customary practice and societal perceptions of the legitimacy of men's marital powers continue to restrict women's activities and livelihood efforts. This reflection on ethnographic research in Mafeteng, Lesotho, illustrates key constraints, in particular gender ideologies and debilitating health conditions that aggravate rural households' economic crises. It is argued that more institutional interventions are required in order to socialise the values and promote the cause of gender equality between married partners and to tackle persisting familial and cultural impediments affecting women's lives.
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Volume (Year): 28 (2011)
Issue (Month): 5 (December)
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